McCollum Statement for the Record Honoring Karen Clark
MS. McCOLLUM: Mr. Speaker, I had the honor of serving as a member of the Minnesota House of Representatives for eight years prior to being elected to Congress in 2000. One of my Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party colleagues from Minneapolis, State Rep. Karen Clark, was a constant and vocal champion for social justice, economic opportunity, environmental sustainability, and human rights. State Rep. Clark continues to serve in the Minnesota House, having just completed her thirty-third legislative session. Karen’s passion, determination, and commitment as a legislator were recently displayed for the entire nation to admire as she authored legislation and lead the push for marriage equality. That legislation passed the legislature, was signed into law, and now Minnesota is the twelfth state in the union to legalize same sex marriage.
Today, the White House is recognizing the achievements and contributions of ten openly lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) public officials from across the United States. One of those officials being honored is State Rep. Karen Clark, who will join a distinguished group of leaders named “Harvey Milk Champions of Change.” This is a tremendous honor for Karen and I want to extend my heartfelt congratulations on this well deserved recognition.
Throughout her career, Karen Clark has advocated and given voice to the issues and hopes of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Minnesotans. As the longest serving openly lesbian state legislator in the country, Karen has battled against discrimination, hate-crimes, and intolerance faced by LGBT Americans, yet she has always conducted herself with a spirit of openness, kindness, and courage. Karen has dedicated three decades to improving the lives of LGBT Minnesotans, but also all families in her South Minneapolis district. From LGBT youth to new African or Latino immigrants, low-income families to Native American women, Karen Clark has always been on the side of making government work for people to improve their lives.
Again, I would like to extend my congratulations and the shared sense of pride many friends, colleagues, and constituents of Karen feel as she is recognized by President Obama for her leadership. State Rep. Karen Clark is truly a national leaders for LGBT Americans and a champion for all Minnesotans.